We have established a large library of monoclonal antibodies against a human hepatoma cell line called FOCUS. One such monoclonal antibody (SF-25) detects a 125-kilodalton cell surface antigen found on FOCUS cells. As both the liver and the colon are of endodermal origin, we examined the possibility of expression in colon adenocarcinomas. This antigen was found in all 23 colon adenocarcinoma tissues surgically obtained but was absent in the adjacent normal mucosal counterpart as determined by a direct radioimmunohistologic technique. In the present study, we have established a model for human metastatic colon adenocarcinoma using the LS 180 cell line. Athymic mice were further immunosuppressed by intravenous injection of anti-NK cell antibodies (antiasialo GM1). After 24 h, mice were injected with LS 180 cells either via the tail vein or into the spleen followed by splenectomy. Macroscopic pulmonary and lymphatic metastasis developed within 2-3 wk after injection of cells and 9 of 10 mice died with advanced metastatic disease 2-3 wk later. In addition, macroscopic hepatic metastases were evident in 4 of 5 mice 3-4 wk after intrasplenic injection. Both hepatic as well as pulmonary and lymphatic tumor spread was localized by nuclear imaging with 125I-SF-25. Furthermore, micrometastases were detected by autoradiography 5-10 days later. Monoclonal antibody SF-25 is a potential candidate for tumor localization and the experimental metastatic colon cancer animal model may be useful for treatment evaluation of monoclonal antibody SF-25 either alone or in combination with other monoclonal antibodies when conjugated to radionucleotides and chemotherapeutic agents.